The beginning of 2017 had an unexpected twist for me. I had received a set of wood-turning tools for Christmas and I was anxious to try them out. I had watched a video about wood-turning on a lathe where the presenter had used a small, cherry log to turn out a beautiful goblet. I had a pile of small, semi-round logs piled in my garage, so I thought I would give it a try. I followed the instructions and placed the log on my lathe. Almost as soon as I turn on the lathe, I knew something would wrong. It seemed to spin much faster than normal, and then it began to rock. I leaned to my right to turned it off and BAM!, I was clobbered by the log. Fortunately, it was a glancing blow that rang my ears, but did not knock me out or split my forehead. Now, a week later, I still can look in the mirror and be reminded of my carelessness.
This incident has raised my awareness of something far more profound. I have been reminded of how God’s hand is on His children to protect them. Over this past week, I have thought of how many times I have had close calls and God has protected me. I know that God does not shield us from all harm. In fact, He sometimes allows us to experience traumatic events, so that we can learn to trust His grace more. But, in the main, on a day by day basis, God does protect His children.
David expressed this protection in Psalm 121.
I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you-- the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Even as followers of Christ, we can become careless and complacent. We can start to depend too much on our own skills and talents. We can live our day to day lives as if we do not need God. But David reminds us of three important truths that we should always keep in mind.
First, the source of our help is the Lord. There are so many things to which we look to give us a sense of security in our world. We may look to our finances, or our family, or our social status, or our country. All of these things can be positive influences in our life. But none of them can truly give us the security that we are looking for. Our security is found in our loving, heavenly Father, who watches over us.
Second, our heavenly Father is always watching over us. He doesn’t take days off, go on vacation, or sleep through the night. Instead, He is constantly watching over his children. His watchful eye is on us whether we realize it or not. In fact, His hand of protection most often goes unseen and unrecognized by us. We have no idea how many times God has intervened on our behalf to protect us from harm. My close encounter with a flying log served to remind me that, even when I am careless, God is watchful.
Third, our heavenly Father will never stop watching over us. He will not get tired of following our lives. He will not become impatient with our carelessness or our lack of perception. He has not put a time limit on His involvement in our lives. As David says, the Lord will continue to watch over us both now and forever more.
Growing up, I was the one in our family known for getting hurt. I have often quipped that I am going to write a book entitled, My Life as a Crash Test Dummy. As I look back over my life, I have had many close calls that I am aware of, and many more that I am not. I am extremely thankful for my heavenly Father’s watchful eye keeping tabs on me. The blossoming bruise on my forehead is a vivid reminder that my life would be very different, if the hand of God was not upon me.